Recently, Jim Lanzone, Vice President of Product Management with
Ask Jeeves, attended a chat session with students from the Academy, and he
answered a lot of very interesting questions about Ask Jeeves’ Web
So, let’s look at this interview with Jim, and learn more
about Ask Jeeves and their relatively new search engine on the block, Teoma.
As Vice President of Product Management, Jim overseas the
strategy, features, Web design, and product development for all of Ask
Jeeves’ properties, including Ask.com, Teoma, and Ask Jeeves for Kids at
AJKids.com. Ask Jeeves is a top twenty Web property and is among the most
recognized Internet brands worldwide.
Jim began by giving some background information about Ask Jeeves
“Ask Jeeves is one of the leading search engines on
the Web, with more than 16 million unique users per month. We also recently
launched a new search engine called Teoma (Gaelic for "expert," in case you
“Both Ask.com and Teoma.com are powered by Teoma's
search technology. The difference between the two sites lies in the design and
“Here's an easy way to think about it: Ask is for
‘Passengers’ (people who want help searching) and Teoma.com is for
‘Drivers’ (people who don't).
“Our company makes money by serving advertisements
that are triggered by the searches people conduct on our sites. There are three
main types of advertisements: Graphical (e.g., banner ads), Paid Placement
(Sponsored Links), and a new program called "Paid Inclusion" (pay to be entered
into our search index).”
Is free submission still an option?
Can you still submit to Ask Jeeves if you have a site that
answers questions, like we have been able to do in the past for free, or do you
have to go through pay inclusion to get into either index?
“Well, yes, if you want to submit, you need to pay. It
takes special attention, and therefore resources, for us to take a site rather
than simply crawl the Web as usual. But there are special benefits to paying!
“Our editorial staff is much smaller than the old
days, and the ‘questions’ for Jeeves (what we call the
‘Knowledge Base’ internally) are not emphasized as much as they used
to be, so the exposure will be more limited...and it may take our editors quite
a while to get to your site.”
So, you can still submit your site to Ask Jeeves for free, but
it will probably take a while for your site to make it into the index.
“For the search index, there is no free submit (for
Compared to, for example, the free add URL in Google, the one
for Ask Jeeves makes you jump through hoops.
“That's because it's quite an old program that was
developed for our editors to review.”
Remember that Ask Jeeves was established to answer questions, so
you have to "prove" that your site does, in fact, very effectively answer the
question you're going after – which is a lot more detailed than a simple
submission at Google.
What about pay inclusion?
If you submit to Ask Jeeves’ and Teoma’s pay inclusion
program, your site will get visibility at both sites. The pay inclusion program
is now out of beta, so the subscription period is 12 months.
Benefits of their pay inclusion program include:
- Your page will be indexed within 7 days.
- Your page will be refreshed every 7 days.
- Your page remains in the index for 12 months.
$30 for the first URL, and $18 each for 2 through 1000
URL’s. For larger numbers of pages, you can use their batch processing
Visit http://ask.ineedhits.com/ for more
The Direct Hit site has been taken down, and traffic is being
redirected to Teoma. What about the Direct Hit results that were being shown in
engines like HotBot? Are those now Teoma results?
“Yes, we still have Direct Hit on HotBot, as well as
BellSouth and InfoSpace. DirectHit.com is redirected to Teoma. But some
partners still have the old DH "pop" (popularity) results.
“We will be merging pop into the Teoma technology
sometime in the near future, but some partners still want it as a "one-off,"
and we are open to providing it.”
Teoma does crawl sites on its own? Is that correct?
“Yes, that’s correct. Its index is currently
featured on both Ask.com and Teoma.com.”
A Web site with good link popularity then would not need the Ask
Jeeves/Teoma paid inclusion program?
“For a major site, that is probably true. However, for
smaller sites, or sites that refresh their content frequently (or have many
dynamic pages that are difficult for search engines to crawl), paid inclusion
is still a great option if you really want the traffic. Paid inclusion sites
are spidered weekly. Other sites are spidered monthly, currently.”
When paying for inclusion for Ask Jeeves and Teoma, are the
results shared with other partners? If so who?
“Currently, no. However, we're aggressively pursuing
partnerships that will extend our reach considerably. Not able to say who just
yet, but the usual suspects.”
In your FAQ’s for Ask Jeeves/Teoma’s pay inclusion
it states that you can’t change URL’s. Why?
“Because it's considered a new submission. We're not
able to put enough resources against it yet.”
So in the future, we'll have the ability to swap out URLs?
“We'll see, but I hear you. We are aware of Inktomi's
What's the difference in traffic between the premium listings
and the "regular" search results?
“Do you mean between Premier Listings (Featured
Sponsor) and Paid Inclusion? There are two differences: 1) You are guaranteed
that your listing will show up; 2) You are guaranteed that it will show up in a
specific location on our page.”
Are Premier Listings twice as likely to be clicked on, for
“Premier Listing is really just an ad. With Paid
Inclusion, you aren't paying for anything other than being included in the
index and then being subjected to the same relevance algorithms that give us
our other results, but with the other benefits that I mentioned earlier.
“In terms of click ratio, I suppose it depends on how
relevant your site is to a given query. The match rate of a site that buys ad
space on our site is much more significant than one that purchases via paid
inclusion for now.”
For more information about Premier Listings, visit:
Let’s say that I have a Web site:
http://myownwebsite.com, and let's say that my goal is for it to
become an "authoritative" site in Teoma. Could you give us some tips on what we
can do to try to be considered by Teoma as an authoritative or expert site on a
“Our recommendations are as follows: 1) you allow
people to link to you; 2) you offer quality content so that you become popular
among other sites of the same subject (i.e., experts). Basically, that's it.
None of our expert sites or authorities are manually decided. It's based on our
On Teoma, are Teoma and Ask Jeeves results combined?
“Well, there really is no such thing as an Ask Jeeves
result. There are pre-fab, editorially selected ‘answers’ to certain
queries that may appear at the top of the page if we have a high level of
confidence that we have the right answer. But as far as the actual search
results go, it's all Teoma...and we'll layer in the Direct Hit click-pop at
some point soon.”
But Teoma results ARE being shown at Ask Jeeves?
“That's exactly right. The part of the AJ page that
says, ‘You may find these search results helpful’ has the Teoma
results. They were launched in January (and by no coincidence, we immediately
saw a 30% increase in picks to those results.)”
The "Featured Sponsor" section of Ask Jeeves, is that the
“Yes it is.”
(End of interview/chat session)
Let’s take a longer look at Teoma
If you haven’t visited Teoma yet and performed a few
searches, you need to do so (http://www.teoma.com/). It’s a really
cool engine with some very interesting and helpful features.
For example, it’s a no-nonsense engine like Google with one
purpose only: search.
When you search at Teoma, you’re given three sets of
- Results, which are relevant Web pages from the Teoma index;
- Refine, which are suggestions for narrowing your search;
- Resources, which are link collections from experts and
So with Teoma, if your search results are too broad, you can
immediately narrow them down by choosing one of the suggestions in the Refine
And, in the Resources area, you’ll find “experts”
in that particular focus area. This is an excellent place to find related and
important sites that might be good candidates to contact about swapping links.
More on Ask Jeeves
Ask Jeeves is the “question answering” search engine,
which puts it into a class of its own. (http://www.askjeeves.com)
At the top of the search results, you’ll see a
“featured sponsor” section, which is their Premier Listing
advertisement that we’ve discussed previously.
With some searches, you’ll see a “sponsored
links” section, which are results currently being provided by Overture.
However, on September 3, Ask Jeeves will be switching to Google for their paid
Then, you’ll find search results from Teoma, followed by a
section called, “Other people with your search have also asked:” In
that section, you’ll see additional questions that may help answer your
initial question, with results coming from Ask.com.
Like at Teoma, you can narrow your search down by choosing one
of the search terms on the right-hand side of the page.
Ask Jeeves recently entered into an agreement with Google to
display their Google AdWords in Ask Jeeves results effective September 3, 2002.
Those results will be shown at both Ask Jeeves and Teoma as “sponsored
links.” For more information, visit:
Teoma has taken over the old Direct Hit site, and I believe
we’ll see some big things out of this fascinating engine in the future.
Ask Jeeves is as it’s always been: unique – a place
where you can go and ask a question and be presented with several possible
If you haven’t submitted your site to Ask Jeeves/Teoma, and
if your site isn’t found in the Teoma index, I strongly suggest that you
consider their pay inclusion program and become a part of their index.
Robin Nobles teaches 2-, 3-, and 5-day hands-on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe (SearchEngineWorkshops.com) as well as online SEO training courses (OnlineWebTraining.com). They have recently launched localized SEO training centers through SearchEngineAcademy.com, and they have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK. They have also opened the first networking community for SEOs, the Workshop Resource Center (WRC).
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